TIAMSA Member News: Leslie Koot & Julia May Boddewyn launch The Modigliani Initiative

Leslie Koot and Julia May Boddewyn, independent art researchers and TIAMSA members, have launched The Modigliani Initiative, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to supporting the legacy of Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920). The Initiative strives to serve as a collaborative platform for examining and documenting the life of the artist, his work, and his artistic milieu. 

The Initiative has established a state-of-the-art database of the paintings attributed to Modigliani. The software’s user-friendly search features foster scholarly analysis and the ability to cross-reference information about the artist’s models, collectors, dealers, exhibitions, auction sales, and literature. Once it reaches a more advanced stage, this will be made accessible to the public online. In the meantime, the Spotlight section of the Initiative’s website presents short essays about interesting research discoveries.

The first Spotlight post presents the aristocratic Sitwell brothers who organized London’s first exhibition of Modigliani’s paintings which were included in a group show held at Heal & Son in August 1919. Léopold Zborowski, Modigliani’s dealer, gathered the nearly two hundred paintings by a variety of young artists which represented the latest art from Paris. Zborowski then approached the enterprising brothers with an offer to buy nearly his entire Modigliani inventory, apparently in a desperate attempt to raise money for the ailing artist who died in January 1920.

The next post will introduce James Rosenberg and his New Gallery in New York, which was in operation from 1922 to 1928. While now nearly forgotten, the gallery was an important promoter of European modern art and pivotal in introducing Modigliani’s paintings to America’s most prominent collectors. The article traces the trajectory of a number of Modigliani works exhibited at one time at the New Gallery, many of which today reside in the collections of prestigious public institutions.

The Modigliani Initiative website can be found here. We welcome all who are interested to sign up to receive our newsletters.